Tag Archives: patron privacy

search engine overload…or overlord?

Seems like search engines have been springing up all over the place.  Soon enough there will be needed search engines to search search engines (oh wait…we already have those). In any case, the emergence of new breed of mechasearchers has me intrigued whether or not Google might be spreading itself a bit too thin with all their gizmos in development.  I’m curious about the avenues that these particular developers are taking so that they just might be the one to slay the great Goog.  Three current avenues are particularly intriguing.

Preserve what little humanity we have left with ChaCha

ChaCha is a company that is building on the idea that it is not so much the technology that is delivering your indexed content as it is the humanoids manipulating the technology.

Thus Spake Zara-chacha:

ChaCha is conversational, fun, and easy to use. Simply ask your question like you are talking to a smart friend and ChaCha’s advanced technology instantly routes it to the most knowledgeable person on that topic in our guide community. Your answer is then returned to your phone as a text message within a few minutes.

Not that it’s necessary to use a live guide as their search engine works perfectly fine, but hooking a live one can be helpful especially if you’re not near a pulsing box of pixellation and you have your phone with you.  Texting your searches seems like all the rage, but mind you, standard rates may apply.

Make it sound as human as possible with Powerset

Taming the beast is the aim of Powerset, the beast being the search technology that cannot understand our queries.  So like ChaCha, there is nothing wrong with us, but that blasted speech sytnax that computers simply can’t understand.  Powerset writes it out for us:

Powerset’s goal is to change the way people interact with technology by enabling computers to understand our language. While this is a difficult challenge, we believe that now is the right time to begin the journey. Powerset is first applying its natural language processing to search, aiming to improve the way we find information by unlocking the meaning encoded in ordinary human language.

So with the intent of not having to resort to technical, complicated search strings, Powerset wants our search results directly related to the flow of our informal speech patterns.  In its infancy, Powerset currently indexes only articles submitted to Wikipedia, though containing several viewing options, references, and citations one would expect from a typical wikipedia entry.

Index early, index often with Cuil

And then there’s Cuil. Apparently created by defectors from the great Goog, these two have started their own search engine, and though like Shaquille O’Neal running a not-so-fast break, it’s definitely gaining momentum. So much so that it boasts possessing the world’s biggest index:

The Internet has grown exponentially in the last fifteen years but search engines have not kept up—until now. Cuil searches more pages on the Web than anyone else—three times as many as Google and ten times as many as Microsoft.

Rather than rely on superficial popularity metrics, Cuil searches for and ranks pages based on their content and relevance. When we find a page with your keywords, we stay on that page and analyze the rest of its content, its concepts, their inter-relationships and the page’s coherency.

Then we offer you helpful choices and suggestions until you find the page you want and that you know is out there. We believe that analyzing the Web rather than our users is a more useful approach, so we don’t collect data about you and your habits, lest we are tempted to peek. With Cuil, your search history is always private.

Very interesting claim as well that Cuil has no interest whatsoever with collecting user data or the habits thereof and indexing by popularity.  In any case, Cuil certainly intends to raise the stakes.

Three different philosophies, three different search engines.